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  • Writer's pictureDr. Wade Newman

Protecting Your Teeth: The Importance of Mouth Guards in Contact Sports

Engaging in contact sports can be exhilarating and physically demanding, but it also comes with inherent risks, particularly to your oral health. Whether you're participating in football, hockey, martial arts, or any other contact sport, the risk of dental injuries, such as knocked-out teeth or broken jaws, is a genuine concern. To safeguard your teeth and preserve your smile, wearing a properly fitted mouth guard is crucial. In this article, we will highlight the importance of mouth guards in contact sports and why they are an essential piece of protective gear for athletes.

"Protecting Your Teeth: The Importance of Mouth Guards in Contact Sports"

Preventing Dental Injuries

The primary purpose of a mouth guard is to protect the teeth and mouth from injuries. In contact sports, collisions, falls, and direct impacts to the face can occur frequently. A mouth guard acts as a cushion, absorbing and redistributing the force of these impacts, thus reducing the risk of tooth fractures, dislodged teeth, and injuries to the soft tissues of the mouth, such as the lips and tongue.

Minimizing the Risk of Jaw Fractures

Mouth guards not only protect the teeth but also provide a degree of protection to the jawbone. They act as a shock absorber, helping to reduce the force of impact to the jaw, which can significantly lower the risk of jaw fractures. By providing a buffer between the upper and lower jaws, mouth guards help distribute forces evenly, minimizing the chance of severe jaw injuries.

Safeguarding Against Soft Tissue Injuries

Contact sports can cause injuries to the lips, cheeks, and tongue. A well-fitted mouth guard creates a barrier between the soft tissues of the mouth and the teeth, reducing the likelihood of lacerations and other soft tissue injuries. By covering the sharp surfaces of the teeth, it helps prevent accidental biting and protects against internal oral injuries.

Preventing Tooth Displacement and Tooth Loss

Direct blows to the face during contact sports can result in tooth displacement or complete avulsion (knocked-out teeth). A mouth guard acts as a shock absorber and provides a protective barrier, reducing the risk of tooth displacement or complete tooth loss. In cases where a tooth is avulsed, wearing a mouth guard can help cushion the impact, increasing the chances of saving the tooth by preventing immediate damage upon impact.

Concussion Prevention

While mouth guards primarily protect the teeth and mouth, they may also contribute to reducing the risk of concussions. The shock-absorbing properties of a mouth guard can help absorb some of the impact to the head and jaw, potentially reducing the force transmitted to the brain and lessening the severity of a concussion. Although more research is needed, wearing a mouth guard may provide an added layer of protection against head injuries.

Choosing the Right Mouth Guard

When it comes to mouth guards, custom-fit options provided by a dental professional offer the highest level of protection and comfort. Dentists can create mouth guards tailored to an individual's mouth, ensuring an optimal fit and maximum effectiveness. Over-the-counter options, such as boil-and-bite mouth guards, can also provide a decent level of protection but may not offer the same level of customization and fit as a professionally made mouth guard.


Protecting your teeth and oral health should be a top priority when engaging in contact sports. Mouth guards are an essential piece of protective gear that help minimize the risk of dental injuries, jaw fractures, and soft tissue damage. By wearing a properly fitted mouth guard, athletes can enjoy their chosen sports with peace of mind, knowing their teeth and mouth are well-protected. Consult with a dental professional to obtain a custom-fit mouth guard that offers the highest level of comfort and protection. Remember, investing in a mouth guard today can save you from potential dental issues and preserve your winning smile for years to come.

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